"So that all we can know of this Consciousness is, that it consists in, or is the Result of, the running and rummaging of the Spirits through all the Mazes of the Brain, and their looking there for Facts concerning ourselves"
— Mandeville, Bernard (bap. 1670, d. 1733)
How minute soever those Particles of the Brain are, that contain the several Images, It is not easy to determine what Instincts, Properties or Capacities other Creatures are either possess'd or destitute of, when those Qualifications fall not under our Senses: But it is highly probable that the principal and most necessary Parts of the Machine are less elaborate in Animals, that attain to all the Perfection they are capable of, in three, four, five, or six Years at furthest, than they are in a Creature that hardly comes to Maturity, its full Growth and Strength, in five and twenty. The Consciousness of a Man of fifty, that he is the same Man that did such a thing at twenty, and was once the Boy that had such and such Masters, depends wholly upon the Memory, and can never be traced to the Bottom: I mean, that no Man remembers any thing of himself, or what was transacted before he was two Years old, when he was but a Novice in the Art of Thinking, and the Brain was not yet of a due Consistence to retain long the Images it receiv'd: But this Remembrance, how far soever it may reach, gives us no greater Surety of our selves, than we should have of another that had been brought up with us, and never above a Week or a Month out of Sight. A Mother, when her Son is thirty Years old, has more Reason to know that he is the same whom she brought into the World, than himself; and such a one, who daily minds her Son, and remembers the Alterations of his Features from time to time, is more certain of him that he was not chang'd in the Cradle, than she can be of herself. So that all we can know of this Consciousness is, that it consists in, or is the Result of, the running and rummaging of the Spirits through all the Mazes of the Brain, and their looking there for Facts concerning ourselves: He that has lost his Memory, tho' otherwise in perfect Health, can't think better than a Fool, and is no more conscious that he is the same he was a Year ago, than he is of a Man whom he has known but a Fortnight. There are several Degrees of losing our Memory, but he who has entirely lost it becomes, ipso facto, an Idiot.
The Grumbling Hive was printed as a pamphlet in 1705. 1st edition of The Fable of the Bees published in 1714, 2nd edition in 1723 (with additions, essays "On Charity Schools" and "Nature of Society"). Part II, first published in 1729. Kaye's text based on 6th edition of 1732.
See The Fable of the Bees. Part II. By the Author of the First. (London: Printed: and sold by J. Roberts in Warwick-Lane, 1729). <Link to ESTC><Link to ECCO>
See also Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees, ed. F.B. Kaye, 2 vols. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1988). Orig. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924. Reading first volume in Liberty Fund paperback; also searching online ed. <Link to OLL>
I am also working with another print edition: The Fable of the Bees, ed. F. B. Kaye, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957).